Baseball, Apple Pie and Chevrolet in Cuba

My week-long sabbatical is finally over and I’m back out of the warm weather and into the office.

I recently hit ground after eight days in Cuba, where I was able to travel around the island and see all that I could. The country was what I expected on a certain level with the classic cars and revolutionary propaganda, but the country is far more complicated than communism and 1957 Chevrolet’s.

Going into the trip I wanted to watch the World Baseball Classic with the Cuban team on television, but they were eliminated the night of my flight into the country. I didn’t know what to expect as far as seeing the games, but even in a country with a limited flow of outside information the games were almost always on television somewhere.

In a country that loves baseball the same way that the Brazilians love soccer that shouldn’t have been a surprise.

While sitting in bars almost anyone you would run into would want to ask how their favorite players are doing in the MLB. Many people had no idea where Detroit, Boston or Oakland were, but they could tell you that those are three last three teams that Yoenis Cespedes played for.

One morning during the trip I wandered into a little league game by accident. The kids were good to the point that I continually had to check that they were only 12 or so years old. I wasn’t necessarily looking to find a game, but the sounds of reggaetone at 9 a.m. brought me in.

The scene looked like a Latin American version of a Field of Dreams, and to Ian Kinsler’s dismay, the game looked fun.

The kids weren’t booting balls around and it was generally pretty clean, but every one was loose and having a good time. I wasn’t the only one sitting around and watching the game either. Other people who were just walking by would stop by and enjoy a couple of innings on their way to where ever they were off to.

For the Cuban people baseball offers a refuge from that everyday life that is still difficult.

Aside of the politics of the regime, people are limited with both social and economic freedom. While lifting the embargo will enact positive change for the people in the long run, the Havana I was able to see won’t be the same Havana in five years.

The city could become Cancun light by then, which would be a shame. Who knows what Raul Castro would do, or what he thinks on a daily basis?

That said, the romance of the city comes in the light of it being a bit of a time warp. If the city changes too much the simple morning of walking into a little league game or smoking a cigar on the Malecon at night would be gone.

Change is surely coming for the Cuban people, but some things hopefully won’t change in the crossfire.

avatar

Posted by Brian Fogg

Brian is the sports writer for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3110 or bfogg@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply